Infantrymen sharpen skills during live-fire training
Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan -- Two popular reasons why people become U.S. Marines are the opportunities to be a member of America’s force in readiness and to travel the globe. Marines assigned to the unit deployment program not only get to travel, but they have the opportunity to train in environments across the Asia-Pacific region.
Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the UDP, held weapons systems familiarization and fire-and-maneuver exercises at Range 2 on Camp Hansen April 29.
Marines fired the M203 grenade launcher, M32 semiautomatic grenade launcher, AT-4 light anti-armor weapon and the MK153 shoulder-fired multipurpose assault weapon to increase proficiency.
This training was conducted to prepare the battalion for its upcoming final field training exercise while assigned to the UDP and future operations, according to Staff Sgt. Owen I. Wood, a platoon sergeant with the battalion.
“We train in order to maintain our skills and remain proficient,” said Wood. “A lot of the things we did today provided great training for our Marines. The different battle drills we conducted provided a more realistic aspect than just standing online and shooting on a range.”
Following the weapons systems familiarization training, Marines conducted fire-and-maneuver rehearsals.
“For the battle drills, we focused on making them as realistic as possible,” said 1st Lt. Zachary W. Devlin-Foltz, a platoon commander with the battalion. “We practiced gaining fire superiority, selecting positions for fire teams, coordinating small-arms suppression prior to movement, engaging enemies according to target precedence, and adjusting placement and rate of fire.”
The battalion engaged in several training evolutions while on Okinawa to sharpen the Marines’ warfighting skills, according to Wood. Training days like this are considered routine for infantry battalions, but the day also assisted in preparation for its final exercise in June.
“The opportunities we have had to train on Okinawa were even better than we originally thought,” said Wood. “The different climate and terrain adds a more realistic element to the training we do. We look forward to taking advantage of all other opportunities we have while under the UDP.”
The UDP was established in 1977 by then-Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Louis H. Wilson Jr. as an initiative to improve unit cohesion by lengthening training evolutions. As part of the program, infantry battalions stationed in the U.S. deploy to Okinawa for a six-month training cycle.
After the Marines finished the maneuver exercises, they employed all the weapons in an isolated battle drill.
“The training we conducted today was important because, in the infantry, we can always use the experience,” said Lance Cpl. Naim K. Olverson, a rifleman with the battalion. “In the near future a lot of our guys are leaving, getting promoted, and taking on new responsibilities. This requires junior Marines to step up and take the lead. Training like this gives us the experience and confidence to do that.”